Interview: Amy Johnson on Below Deck, Kat & That ‘Rocket Ship’ – Exclusive
by Allyson Koerner
It’s a new week, which means a brand new episode of Bravo’s popular yachting show Below Deck is floating right around the corner. Are you ready to go overboard with a brand new episode?
To get you in the mood, why not read our email interview with Amy Johnson, where she opens up about working side by side with her brother Kelley Johnson, her history with Kat, what might/might not happen between Kat and Ben and that infamous “rocket ship” created by “chief stew Barbie” Kate.
Pop City Life: Let’s talk about your relationship with your brother, Kelley. Can you discuss a little bit about why you thought yachting would be a good career choice for him?
Amy Johnson: I thought yachting would be perfect for Kelley because he loves being out on the water and has an incredible work ethic. He brings a lot to the table, and I knew that whichever boat lucky enough to snag him up… that he would be an important and valued team player.
PCL: What about you? Why yachting?
Johnson: I moved to FL for travel and adventure, but had no idea the yachting industry even existed. Once I realized it was an option, I knew that it was the perfect answer. For an outsider, this industry can seem like an exclusive secret society, and you have to know the secret handshake to even find out about a job opening. Looking back I laugh at how I stumbled into this industry, it was definitely meant to be- I mean I found my first boat on Craigslist?!? Not only that, I showed up and after meeting the captain and seeing the boat- he informed me they wanted an “experienced stewardess.” I was shattered, but then he told me they needed a cook and asked if I could cook. Without even thinking I responded with “Of course, you know how us Texas girls are!” As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I thought what in the world did you just say- I have NEVER cooked a full meal in my life?! And what kind of answer was that, “us Texas girls” like we are all born with an apron on and rolling-pin in hand?? I ended up cooking for the owner the following day- he hired me on the spot and a few days later we took off for a three week trip to the Exuma islands. I was thrown into it quickly, but I was bound and determined to make it happen! That was almost five and a half years ago… luckily I’ve survived, had some amazing adventures, traveled to some gorgeous destinations, and made lifelong friends along the way! Super thankful I’ve had this opportunity.
PCL: Back to your sibling relationship, are there ever times you get sick of working side by side with your brother? Do you ever wish you were on different charters?
Johnson: Honestly, before Kell and I went to work on Ohana together I was excited but also nervous. I knew it could go one of two ways… so grateful it was an incredible experience for our relationship. Since we work in completely different departments- he’s outside, I’m inside- it’s not like working side by side as you might imagine since we are on the same boat. There were some days I had to go hunt him down because I realized I hadn’t seen him all day and I wanted to say hi! Looking back, Kelley and I getting to work together and how it strengthened our relationship is the best takeaway I have from this whole experience.
PCL: Does it ever get uncomfortable for you when it comes to living in such close quarters with Kelley, especially when he’s crushing hard on Jennice?
Johnson: Honestly, we were so busy during our charter season, we spent the least amount of time in our crew quarters. And when we were all down there it was to fall asleep as fast as possible, because tomorrow brings a whole new set of demands! That’s what was going on in my room anyways… and whether or not that was happening across the hall… I’m just going to assume the exact same for my brother and Jennice. hahaha.
PCL: What about that kiss? Do you think Kelley handled his feeling for Jennice in the right manner?
Johnson: Oh gosh… I am probably the last person to deem what is right/wrong in the area of love. I am proud of Kelley that he is being a man, stepping up to the plate and being honest about his developing feelings for Jennice. My brother has a huge heart, and is a total romantic- I admire how he puts himself out there and takes chances for love that others would probably shy away from.
PCL: Let’s move onto your relationship with Kat. You two have a history, so can you open up about your past and why there’s tension? Overall, it seems like you both feel differently about how things went down — whatever that may be.
Johnson: Kat and I were very close at one time, she was one of my best friends, and we have had some great adventures together. But there was an incident that happened between us that made me realize the friendship wasn’t what I thought it was. When I found out we’d be working together- I went into the situation with the attitude of the “past is in the past for a reason.” From my perspective, I knew our friendship would never look the same, but I also knew we had both grown and changed, and was open to seeing how she and I would be in this next chapter of life.
When you work on a yacht- you literally live, work, and play with your crew. There is no escape. These people play a huge role in your quality of life. At the end of the day- regardless of any personal conflicts you are all on the same team. I didn’t want to resurrect our past drama and create more tension, it was in the past, I had put it behind me and was hoping she and I could play nice in the shallow end of the friendship pool. Unfortunately, what’s that saying… “the past is never where you think your left it.”
PCL: In the last episode we saw the debacle with Kate and her infamous phallic symbol on the bed. She ended up call you and the other crew members “greedy rather than loyal.” How does that make you feel? Do you think you should’ve supported her actions?
Johnson: We barely got the story out of Kate about the exchange between her and [Dean] at the table. Apparently, that “bitchy resting face” really comes in handy, especially when wanting to hide negative emotions. I had no idea she was that hurt by his words… she played it off so well, I really believed it didn’t bother her one bit. So then to wake up the next day and see that big ol’ “rocket ship,” I was shocked. I never in my wildest dreams, saw that coming. I was mainly confused by the blanket fold, why everyone was talking about it but not doing anything about it, and what exactly it meant because I was told “[Dean] wasn’t happy about it.” Although an incredibly perfect fold, from my perspective at that point, I thought it was inappropriate and out of line. “Greedy rather than loyal”?!?! My loyalty was displayed by removing a penis off the master bed my “chief stew Barbie” made in her momentary lapse of sanity and trying to help her come back to her senses. Don’t get me wrong- I think everyone of us has wanted to do that at some point. But currently I’m thinking that “rocket ship” transported someone here in Kate’s place… because I’m still in shock… wait, did my chief stew really just fold a penis on the master bed?!?!
PCL: Per the most recent promos, we see Kelley drinking and getting jealous of Jennice. It looks like he starts a fight. Can you tell us more about that and how you reacted to his demeanor?
Johnson: One of Kelley’s character qualities is that he is very protective of those around him that he cares for. If he finds out someone has been disrespected or treated rudely, especially a woman, he is going to confront the situation and let it be known that is not ok. When I find out Kelley knows what happened, and I see his reaction- I freak out. I’m nervous something bad might happen and escalate further [than] it needs to.
PCL: Speaking of the promos for next episode, Kat and Ben might hook up. What can you reveal about that rendezvous?
Johnson: Kat and Ben are great friends, they are really funny to be around, their energy plays well off each other. As far as any rendezvous… I don’t kiss and tell, much less tell about someone else’s speculative kisses- you’ll just have to watch the next episode on Tuesday to see what happens.
Below Deck airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.